Summer Internship amidst a Pandemic - Shivangi’s experience at Bain (BCN)
In our endeavor to bring you various aspects of B-school life, today we bring yet another Summer Internship diary.
Shivangi Singh, a history graduate from Lady Shri Ram College for Women, shares her MBA journey which landed her in IIM-Indore. She interned at Bain Capability Network and shares her work experience in this virtual setup.
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10th – 94% | 12th – 96.75% (Humanities)
Bachelor in History from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi
PGP2 student at IIM Indore (2019-2021)
Interned at Bain Capability Network (BCN)
From early apprehensions of whether a History graduate belongs in a B-school to the utmost confidence of the decision done right.
As someone from a pure liberal arts background, I initially struggled when I started my CAT preparation. There were days when I felt that I did not stand a chance because of the high degree of competition and uncertainty that was embedded in this entrance examination.
But there is much to be said about the power of persistence and dedication. I got the chance to study at IIM Indore.
Throughout my CAT journey, I was repeatedly asked the question about why I wanted to pursue an MBA after doing a course like History. I never had the perfect answer to this question which would justify my choice of taking this unusual path.
However, after fully immersing myself in two different worlds of management and History, I finally have the right answer. In my opinion, History as a discipline is aimed to liberate oneself from the past and re-imagine alternative options and paths. I have now come to the realization that the business world today operates on the same axioms. It is all about re-writing history and re-imagining alternative solutions to the problem in hand. We essentially need people from various liberal arts field in management to make people aware of the possibilities that have not been imagined in the past.
Rewind to a year back, when I joined IIM Indore, I was not very clear as to which domain would be a perfect fit for me. I prepared myself for everything; be it Marketing or Consulting.
Coming from a non-quant background, dealing with numbers was something that did not come naturally to me. Hence, the first task for me was to deep dive in those problems and completely familiarize myself with numbers. From the first semester itself, I started preparing myself for case interview questions and guesstimates. I formed a group with different people to discuss and solve case problems. This helped me immensely as there was a great deal to learn in the way each person tackled a case. These multiple perspectives of solving a case added greatly to my problem-solving skills. Moreover, there were a plethora of online resources and books that helped me with quick tips and tricks to improve my calculation skills.
Initially, I was very anxious about my resume because I did not have any technical projects that could bring credibility to my skills or display my interest in the consulting field. Ranging from my academic projects to my research paper, my resume was very different from the rest of the 500 students in my batch. I thought that this would be a great disadvantage for me.
However, I could not have been more wrong. The greatest advice given to me during my summer placement preparation period was that I should not try to hide the fact that I’m from a non-technical, liberal arts background, rather display and flaunt it on my resume.
I mentioned the research papers that I had written during my undergraduate study in LSR which dealt with diverse subjects like ‘Art Appreciation: Khajuraho Temples’ to the “Origin of Islamism”. Luckily, from every mock interview to the actual interview I sat for, these projects seemed to interest the interviewer. My summer internship interview was the biggest testimonial to this fact since the majority of my interview in round 1 revolved around my projects and we spent a great deal discussing and talking about my area of study.
After multiple rounds of practice sessions and resume iterations, the D-day was here, which makes every 1st year MBA student anxious.
Fortunately, my hard work had paid off and I bagged an internship offer from Bain Capability Network (Bain & Company). The process for the company consisted of two rounds- The first round involved a case-problem and a guesstimate. Following the first round, was the second and the final round which was an HR specific round that tried to gauge my interest in the company.
In the end, the interviewer discussed the various service lines in which they operated which helped in judging if I would be a suitable fit for the role.
Ever since I had gotten an offer from BCN, I was extremely excited about this opportunity: to experience the corporate culture. Being a fresher, working in a corporate set-up would be a completely new adventure. I was completely unaware of how things worked and what the 2 months would turn out to be.
However, all these great plans were interrupted by a situation that none of us was prepared for, Covid-19. Despite the great uncertainty that loomed over us, BCN decided to stick to their commitment to their new hires and prepared a completely new form of virtual internship for us.
Initially, I was very anxious and nervous as it was a completely new domain for me. Given the new virtual set up, the majority of the face to face communication was shifted to Zoom calls. However, the onboarding was made very smooth for us as a number of ice-breaking sessions were organized to get to know the company and the people better. We had numerous ‘leadership connect’ sessions which provided us with a platform to chat with some of the eminent senior people in the company about their journey. The insights that they provided us through those calls made up for the networking bit we were losing out on due to the virtual nature of the internship.
I worked in the Strategy Service line under the Product and Point of View Division. My first project majorly revolved around extracting tangible trends and developing new insights about the diversification of major companies across industries. In the short span of 1.5 months, I did high-level research of 60+ companies and an in-depth study of 10 big companies across various industry clusters.
My second project was more aligned with the current happenings of the world. It was a research-based project wherein I had to closely study how some of the world’s biggest companies were protecting, recovering, and retooling their businesses in response to the COVID-19 Crisis.
Undoubtedly, the best part of the internship was the ‘Bain’ way of working which gave its employees certain independence and ownership for the decisions they were making. My mentor was a great help throughout the internship. We connected bi-weekly which helped me understand the project & its background in a much better way.
My mentor never bound me by any rigid structure, which I should follow for my project. He provided me with a clean slate which gave me the opportunity to mould the project the way I wanted to. He would guide me periodically but would also push and encourage me to brainstorm and think on my feet.
In the two months of my internship, I learned much more than I expected. I learned the essence of time management as the whole internship was virtual. Most importantly, I learnt how to find a structure in ambiguity. Overall, the internship was a great experience as it not only gave me a chance to work with the industry professionals but also provided a sneak peek into what life would look like a few years down the line.
To summarize, my journey from my first year to my summer internship and even now has been nothing short of amazing. The one key thing I’ve learned over the years is that learning never stops. Today, I proudly look forward to more such years to come by where I will be venturing out into the brave new world.
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